MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Destination: Refreshment (Dublin 1979)

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to 1979 in Dublin.

D826

Heineken had a very eye-catching and cleverly designed advertising campaign running on CIE buses at the end of the 1970s – wrapped around the destination display of double-deckers with the strapline “Destination: Refreshment”

The bus displaying it here is D826, one of the final batch of VanHool MacArdle bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68s delivered to CIE in 1977/78, following a gap in production as the Spa Road plant built double-deckers for South Yorkshire and A1 Motor Services.

These last Dublin-built buses differed from the earlier VanHools in having a revised lower frontal section made of fibreglass, and also originally sported the more modern square VanHool badge. Over the years they gradually lost these features, and ended up identical to the bulk of the VanHool fleet, which had been delivered between 1974 and 1976.

D826 is seen here heading inbound on the south quays (in the days before the traffic flow was reversed) and with a hopelessly mis-set destination display, the top blind being halfway between the outbound route 25 and 37 displays, and the lower displaying “via City Centre” which would be more commonly used on cross city routes – “via Chapelizod” would have been more appropriate for the 25.

 

MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC: Tired Airport Coach (Dublin, 1980)

 

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we jump back in time to around 1980, when CIE was still the sole operator linking Dublin with its airport, and really didn’t have to try too hard in terms of vehicle quality . .

PL25

At the dawn of the 1980s, CIE’s bus fleet still consisted of Leylands of many varieties, and little else.

Atlanteans and halfcab Titans (PD3s) for city services, and Leopards in various forms for city and rural bus services, with VanHool bodied examples for coach tours . . and a handful of rather down-at-heel Plaxtons too, some of which could be found on the airport service, where they represented a step up from the bus bodied C-class Leopards which had been used through most of the 70s.

PL25 is looking a bit tired in this photo at Busarus.

MONDAY MORNING CLASSIC (Dublin, 1981) – CIE Atlanteans

AllAboutBuses invites you to banish the Monday morning back-to-work blues with a spot of time travel . .

This week we visit the early 1980s, when CIE’s Leyland Atlanteans were looking down at heel

D235

By the early 1980s most of CIE’s 602-strong fleet of PDR1 Atlanteans had been repainted into the drab “tan” or orange livery that the newer VanHool bodied AN68s had arrived in. While undoubtedly more simple and inexpensicve than the previous cream & navy livery, it did nothing for the look of the fleet, and tended to fade rapidly, and show dirt and scuffs much more obviously.

1968 delivery D235 is seen here at Earlsfort Terrace heading south on route 20B, back in the days when the service was cross-city and ran to Bulfin Road on the South/West side, a routing long since abandoned by this route, and now served by the hourly 68A service.

D235, a native of Summerhill Depot,  is missing its CIE crest on the lower front, and carries a mismatched blind set – with terminal blinds in both upper and lower boxes, and no via points. Previously, the fleet had Irish language via points in the upper box, and final destination in English in the lower. During the late 70s and early 80s this was changed to bilingual final destination in the upper box, with English via point in the lower. D235 has received the new upper blind, but not the lower one, and so is using “AN LAR”  (City Centre) final destination blind as a makeshift via point.

D81

AS a bonus, we have a second classic shot today.  I wouldn’t normally include one as blurred as this, however it is appropriate this week for a very specific reason.

Donnybrook Garage will this week start putting into service a batch of new Volvo B9TL/Wright Gemini buses numbered GT81-100, and this reminds me of the very similar batch of Atlanteans which were at the depot from 1967 to 1983, numbered D81-106.  These buses entered service on the 15/A/B routes in 1967, but moved to the 11 group a few years later, where they stayed for many years, until replacement by Bombardier deckers in 1981/2.  Coincidently, the new GTs, 81-100 are also for the 11 route, one of those rare synchronicities of allocation linking past and present which happen from time to time.

Above we see D81, early in 1980, and having strayed off the 11 and onto the 64A service, another long-vanished operation. Again, the CIE crest is missing from the front, but this bus retains its original fibreglass front panel, more attractive than the plain metal lower front which gradually replaced them as they became damaged.  This bus has the older style blinds, with Irish via points and English final destination in the bottom, though in this case the via points, which translate as Ballsbridge / Mount Merrion, are incorrectly set for the 64, rather than the 64A, which ran via Leeson Street rather than Ballsbridge.

I think the location of this photo is Moorehampton Road in Donnybrook, but I am not certain.

When GT81 enters service in the next few days, I will add a photo here.

ONE IN TWELVE – MD42

MD42 just off the old N8 in Co. Tipperary

MD42 just off the old N8 in Co. Tipperary

This photo was one of the very earliest to appear on this site back in 1996, being used to illustrate the typical Bus Eireann school operation of the time. the scene is indeed very typical, complete with rusting corrugated iron roof on the building to the right.

The location is a small side road about halfway between Cahir and Mitchelstown along the N8 (the main road is just behind the car that you can see in the photo). The MD lasted there for a number of years, and later KCS188 was to be found close to this location, but I’m not sure what, if anything, is there now.

ONE IN TWELVE – New Old Bus

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you one of my favourite photos from the past 12 years.

Today we look at a Cork KC with a surprisingly young registration.

As always, you can click on this picture for the fullsize version.

KC169 was the last of the 848 K-family buses to enter service

KC169 was the last of the 848 K-family buses to enter service

The entry into service of the very last of the K-family of buses, GAC city bus KC169, did not happen until 1992, by which time the bus itself was 7 years old. Originally delivered with a UZG registration, the KC gained a 1992 plate on finally entering service, following years stored and cannabalised at Capwell depot.

Sadly, the modern registration did not prevent KC169 from being withdrawn along with the rest of Cork’s KCs at the start of this decade.

KC169 was a regular on the 14 in Cork for a long time, and it is seen thus employed on a wet Wednesday afternoon in Patrick Street.

ONE IN TWELVE – VanHool Tours

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you one of my favourite photos from the past 12 years.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

D635 in tour bus guise

D635 in tour bus guise

During the early years of this site, when I ran it while living in the UK, I would usually visit Dublin twice a year or so to get fresh photos and see what was happening on the scene. No such visit was complete without a ride on the city tour, which gave me the opportunity to travel on the VanHools of my youth, which were by the mid 90s gone from normal service.

Of all the buses used on the tour service, my favourites were D635 and DF760, both of which I had known from new in the mid 1970s. 760 had been allocated to my “home” garage, Donnybrook, and although it didn’t work my local routes, I still considered it one of “my ” buses.

I had even stronger memories of D635 however, as despite being a Summerhill bus, it was allocated to a route which came very close to home – so close in fact, that it could be seen from a vantage point at the top of the tall pine tree which grew in our back garden. I had been given a telescope for Christmas one year, and discovered that by climbing to the top of the tree, I could just see the 16As turning round at the Bottle Tower through a gap between the houses. I spent several happy afternoons up the tree watching the buses through the telescope, until complaints from the neighbours to my parents brought a quick end to the practice – they were not so sure it was buses I was watching (though in all innocence, it was! )

When not up a tree, I would often wander over to the Bottle Tower junction, where all the local routes – 14, 14A, 16A, 17, 47A and 61 could be watched together. D635 was a regular on the 16A, and stood out because it was out of sequence from the rest of the route’s allocation, which consisted of D665-669, and 673-699.

The odd ones out were 634, 635 and 644 which had somehow escaped being allocated to Clontarf (through 634/5 were to be sent there in an allocation tidying excercise in 1980).

D635 had a brief spell in Donnybrook in the early 90s, thus becoming one of a small number of buses which would have worked the Churchtown area as both a 14/A and a 16A.

I was pleased to come across it surviving on tours in the late 1990s, and even more pleased that it eventually survived all the others in the system as a tree-lopper to become both the last VanHool owned by Dublin Bus, and the last two-tone green vehicle in the fleet at the time of it’s eventual disposal in February 2003.

Even that is not the end of the story for D635, which has survived in private hands in tree-lopping format, and is currently undergoing renovation to become a special event vehicle.

Given my childhood method of observing the new VanHools on the 16A, it is somewhat appropriate that this bus became a tree-lopper – perhaps there is a message there somewhere?

ONE IN TWELVE – Lost Location

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of the founding of the site, every day during November I’ll be bringing you one of my favourite photos from the past 12 years.

Today we look at a picture taken 11 years ago which can never be recreated – not only is the bus long gone, but the location itself has vanished forever.

Click on any picture for the fullsize version.

Bombardier KD105 parked on the now vanished ramp up to Connolly Station.

Bombardier KD105 parked on the now vanished ramp up to Connolly Station

When this site first started back in 1996, virtually the entire fleet of 366 Bombardier/GM double-deckers were still in service with Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, and the first 4 years or so of the site recorded their steady decline and eventual scrapping.

This picture, taken in 1997, shows a typical Dublin KD – Clontarf’s KD105 – in the two-tone green livery in which they ran all of their lives, the only modification being the introduction of a thin orange band and logo when Dublin Bus devolved from CIE.

This picture, taken on a wet Friday in May, reminds me of how useful the ramp up to Connolly Station was as a location for layovers. Behind the KD are a couple of Bus Eireann vehicles, including a VC which would probably still be in service today. The location no longer exists – the ramp was levelled and removed in 2002 to make way for the new LUAS Red Line tramway station which opened in 2004.

KD105 is here resting on duty 3/27B – it had been delivered new to Clontarf in February 1982, and was one of the batch which replaced the last open platform Leyland PD3 buses at that garage.

Budget 2009 – Transport Spending

Figures released by the irish Government relating to transport spending in 2009.

TRANSPORT

Gross Expenditure for the Department of Transport in 2009 is €3,613 million, a decrease of €160 million (€6 million Current and €154 million Capital) relative to the 2008 forecast outturn. The key policy measures and adjustments associated with these resources in 2009 and later years are as follows:-

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

· capital expenditure of over €900 million is allocated to fund public transport infrastructure. This is about €70 million less than the amount made available in 2008, but it is sufficient for progress on a wide range of projects, including:

Luas extensions to Cherrywood, Docklands and Citywest

improved bus priority measures in Dublin and the regional cities

the completion of the Midleton rail line and phase 1 of the Western Rail Corridor from Ennis to Athenry

the construction of the Kildare Route project and phase 1 of the Navan rail line

the continuation of Iarnród Éireann’s railway safety programme

the start of the Dublin city centre rail re-signalling programme

continued roll-out of new railcars on the intercity routes

planning and enabling works on Metro North, and

planning works for the DART Interconnector;

· in addition, €338 million of current expenditure is provided for the operation of public transport services throughout the country. This is €6 million more than the 2008 provision.

ROADS

· capital expenditure of over €1.4 billion is being made available to the National Roads Authority. This allocation is €157 million less than in 2008, and while progress on some projects will necessarily have to slow down, key national routes will be delivered as planned, specifically:

the major inter urban roads connecting Dublin with the regional cities of Waterford, Galway, Limerick and Cork by end-2010;

the M50 upgrade;

there will also be progress on other key national routes, including the Atlantic Road

Corridor;

· over €600 million is being made available to local authorities throughout the country for the upgrade and maintenance of regional and local roads;

· capital expenditure of €10 million is provided for additional carbon reduction measures to target climate change initiatives in the transport sector;

· as a start to the Government’s commitment to part-fund a dual carriageway road within Northern Ireland transforming access to the North West of the island, a capital provision of €13.5 million is being made available in 2009 towards the planning works for this project;

OTHER

· provision for Regional Airports is reduced by €13 million to €11 million in 2009. Annual provision for capital investment in the regional airports is decided according to estimates of likely drawdowns in the year for specific projects. This can vary from year to year;

· overall, the reduced capital allocation for transport will require some rescheduling of projects. Such decisions will be taken by the Department of Transport and its agencies on a project-by-project basis, taking account of their assessment of priorities within the revised expenditure envelope;

· the impact of the reduced current allocation is being spread across a number of areas and principally involves reduced expenditure on road maintenance.

Southwest photos

Coaches & Buses in West Cork and Kerry in July 2008, including Bus Eireann, private operators, rural transport scheme and island operations. All photos by Gabriel Conway

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

VC116 parked in scenic surroundings on the Beara peninsula

The Beara peninsula is one of the lesser-known treasures of Ireland, just as pretty but far less spoilt than the nearby Ring of Kerry. The Cork/Kerry border runs along the middle of the peninsula, with the western end being wholly in West Cork.

For such a remote area, it is well served by public transport, with Bus Eireann services on both sides of the peninsula, a long established private operator on the Cork side, and a well-developed network of rural transport services that reach right to the end, and even out to the largest island off Castletownbere.

The photo above, taken on the southern side, on the road from Glengarriff to Castletownbere, shows Bus Eireann VC116 parked around 4-5km west of Glengarriff. There is often a schoolbus parked at this location, though I suspect that VC116 has been working a regular service.

In the background can be seen Bantry Bay and the Sheeps Head.

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

VC116 a few miles south of Glengarriff

A closer view of VC116 – the VCs are the mainstay of many services in the area, though they are being slowly cascaded to schools work now.

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

New SC235 departs Killarney Bus Station on the 270 to Kenmare

Over the many years that I have visited Kenmare, I have seen generations of buses come and go on the Kenmare/Killarney service (these days numbered 270).

In the mid 70s Leyland Leopard E14 was the main bus, with E69 sometimes doing duty as a backup. In the late 70s and early 80s, C27 was the only bus on this service for a long time, until replaced by new KR97 in 1985. This was to be the last new bus that the route received for many a year, as a succession of midlife coaches followed when the KR was eventually relegated to schools. There was a PL for a while in the late 90s, and then VC60 became a regular, up until about a year ago, following which a variety of VCs have been used, with VC109 appearing often.

SC235 is the first brand new vehicle I’ve seen on the route since 1985, and is seen here departing from Killarney Bus Station for Kenmare (irish: Nedin) on an early morning journey.

VC86 waits at Killarney

VC86 waits at Killarney

Also at Killarney, VC86 waits to take up duty on the 040 express service linking Tralee and Killarney with Cork and Waterford.

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Spot the door - SP104 parked at Killarney

Also fairly new, SP104 is seen here at the part of Killarney Bus Station closest to the Outlet Centre. These coaches are very sleek looking, and have the most flush fitting doors of any I have seen.

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

SP108 in the coach parking area near Killarney Station

Sister vehicle SP108 seen in the coach parking area near the bus station.

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

Bernard Kavanagh's 06-KK-2534 in Brendan Tours livery

A variety of independent operators coaches can be seen at Killarney throughout the year, and there is almost always several varieties of Kavanaghs on display!

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins VanHool 05-C-7085 heads into Killarney town centre

Galvins of Dunmanway are often seen around Killarney on tour work.

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

VC28 at The Square in Castletownbere, about to work to Kenmare

Back to the Beara peninsula, and VC28 is seen at The Square in Castletownbere, ready for the 1100 departure to Kenmare on route 282. This is a magnificant trip, which involves crossing the mountains to the nothern side of the peninsula and into Co. Kerry, with some spectacular scenery and narrow roads. In the summer, two round trips a day are operated Monday to Saturday, while in winter months a shorter version runs once a week from Ardgroom to Kenmare.

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

VC28 arrives at Kenmare where VC109 is about to head for Killarney

An hour an a half later, VC28 has arrived in Kenmare and dropped off its passengers, some of whom will continue on to Killarney on VC109 on the 270.

The buses are seen at the top of the main street in Kenmare, where a dedicated Bus Eireann stop is in place. CIE and Bus Eireann buses have used the main street as a stopping point for almost 50 years, however a local politician has launched a campaign to have the bus stop moved to a different part of town, in order to make 5 further car parking spaces available in the main street.  This despite the fact that the new location would involve considerable disruption for the bus services, forcing them to navigate the one-way system twice for some departures, and would be less convienient for the passengers.

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

VC109 at the disputed stop in Main Street, Kenmare

During the summer, two buses are needed for the 270, so VC109 is working the service as well as SC235 – it will be interesting to see which one is retained for the one-bus winter timetable!

The early afternoon departure that the VC is about to work takes connecting passengers from both the 282 Castletownbere service, and the West Cork 252 route, formerly the 044 expressway.

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

VP331 arrives at Kenmare on the West Cork 252 service

Since the late 1970s there has been a summer-only service from Cork through Bantry and Glengarriff to Kenmare, until this year always running on to Killarney.

Originally an Expressway service, recently numbered 044, it has this year been downgraded to a stage service, numbered 252, and does not run beyond Kenmare.

When started in the 70s, the route used to take the scenic Molls Gap road to Killarney, though in recent years it has used the quicker Kilgarvan routing. It remains one of the few services in Ireland to operate through a hand-carved mountain tunnell, between Glengarriff and Kenmare.

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys 06-KY-3289 at Kenmare

Buckleys is an operation connected with Kerry Coaches of Killarney. One of their luxury minicoaches is seen here at the triangle in Kenmare.

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

78-KY-676 a well-preserved Leyland conversion

Here is an interesting and very well-preserved import to these shores. Possibly a former postbus from the UK, this Leyland vehicle now seems to be used as a private camper van, and was in Kenmare for the fleadh weekend at the end of july.

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 overnights at Kenmare

SP18 seems to be a regular overnight visitor to Kenmare, on CIE touring work.

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

A pair of minibuses belonging to O'Donoghues of Castletownbere

Back to Castletownbere, and here we see the very long established private operator O’Donoghues, who operate bus services from Castletownbere to Bantry and Cork. Their base is right in the centre of the town, at the main square.

The ferry to Bere Island

The ferry to Bere Island

A few miles off Castletownbere in Bantry Bay lies Bere Island, which is connected to the mainland by two car-ferry services, one of which leaves from the centre of town.

The ferries are very small, and have room for just six cars. The trip out to the island is well worth the time, although reversing down the slipway and up the ramp onto the ferry can be nerve-wracking, particularly when it is at an angle as seen here!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

There Bere Island ferry can carry 6 cars - or 1 truck!

Trucks are also carried to and from the island, though only one at a time. And buses too, as I was to find out when I arrived out on Bere Island . .

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

Rural Transport Scheme bus at Bere Island harbour.

A Ford Transit minibus of the Bantry Rural Transport scheme is seen at the harbour on Bere Island. Because of the way it was parked against a wall, the only possible front shot was this one, from the ferry slipway with zoom lens!

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

Bantry Rural Transport provide services on and from the island.

The minibus provides transport both on and off the island, with regular services being operated to and from Castletownbere via the ferry, and a twice-weekly evening service to Bantry. This is just one of a network of buses operated by West Cork Rural Transport, with government funding, covering the areas of the Beara and Sheeps Head peninsulas that Bus Eireann do not reach.

Bere Island itself is delightful, with few cars, quiet roads, and a huge amount to see. The size of Manhatten island, it is somewhat less densely populated, though you will find two pubs, a great coffee shop and a resturant as well as other facilities alongside the quiet hill walks and miles of empty laneways.

Circle Line victim of . . who?

The closure of Circle Line this week is making lots of news headlines. But the real issues are not being debated.

Newspapers and radio have been alive with the tale of Circle Line Bus this week, which has gone into liquidation with the loss of 20 jobs, blaming unfair and predatory tactics by the state run Dublin Bus operator.

Circle Line, a joint venture between Mortons Coaches of Rathfarnham and Bartons of Maynooth, operated services from south and central Dublin to Lucan and Celbridge. Originally launched in the late 1990s as a peak hour express service, a move to frequent all-day operation was made in 2007.

According to co-owner Paul Morton, up to 11,000 passengers a week are using the Circle Line service, which will cease after close of business on Friday 27th June. Mr. Morton told AllAboutBuses that it was “impossible to continue operating in the face of saturation tactics by Dublin Bus” who he accused of “flooding the area with buses paid for by the taxpayer, and using these buses to force us off the road”.

“Since we started our all-day service there has been a marked increase in the number of Dublin Bus vehicles running before and after our departures” Mr. Morton said, claiming that surveys conducted by his staff showed the state run operator providing a bus every two minutes along some sections of his routes.

In a muted response, Dublin Bus has said that its services in the Lucan and Celbridge areas are “fully compliant with Department of Transport service authorisations” and that the company remained “fully confident that our actions are entirely lawful”.

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey said he regretted the Circle Line decision and that he had written to Dublin Bus on numerous occasions regarding allegations of anti competitive behaviour on some Circle Line routes.

Mr. Morton told AllAboutBuses that all holders of prepaid smartcards for his services would be fully refunded, and that he would be doing his best to offer some of the affected bus drivers alternative employment at his other company, Mortons Coaches.

According to Mr. Morton, in the year to December 31st, Circle Line recorded losses of €160,000. It had invested more than €3.6 million in a fleet of new single-deck MAN buses in April 2007 to increase the frequency of the service and Mr Morton said he was considering legal action to recoup this.

A spokesperson for the Coach Tourism and Transport Council (CTTC) which speaks for private bus and coach operators, told us that the closure of Circle Line was very regrettable, and highlighted the unfair and unequal situation in which private operators found themselves competing with buses which had been supplied with government funding for their state run competitors.

The issue of Government funding for the state run bus operators is currently the subject of a complaint lodged by the CTTC with the EU Commission.

On the face of it, this closure will add weight to the EU complaint, and cannot do anything but make the operational environment more difficult for Dublin Bus when it approaches the Department of Transport for future licence or timetable change requests.

What’s disappointing in all of this is that the role of the Department of Transport has been barely mentioned in the news coverage, despite the fact that their hand lies heavily on the shoulder of both Dublin Bus and Circle Line, controlling what services can be operated by both companies, and crucially, failing to introduce the integrated ticketing promised for all operators long ago, which would have removed at the stroke the single largest disincentive on passengers to use Circle Line buses – the fact that only Dublin Bus offer tickets that can be used on buses throughout the whole of the Greater Dublin Area.

The irritation felt by Paul Morton and many of his colleagues in the private sector about “taxpayer funded buses” is compounded by the fact that every new bus he sees on the local Dublin Bus routes carry stickers asserting that they are funded under the Transport 21 project. In fact, only a small number of buses purchased in recent years are taxpayer funded additional buses, but Dublin Bus is required to display the T21 sticker on all of them, for the greater glory of their political masters.

And so, to Paul, every Dublin Bus is a free bus, whereas in fact, the majority are paid for out of operating revenue – your bus fares and mine.

Denied access to government grants, taxpayer funded bus stations, infrastructure and integrated ticketing, the playing field is indeed stacked against the Circle Lines of this country.

But it is the Department of Transport, not Dublin Bus, who have the real questions to answer . . and those questions are not even being asked.

Pics around the N18 / Shannon

An evening ramble out the N18/19 from Limerick to Shannon Airport.

I’ve been based in Limerick for the past few days, attending a work-related training course.

Surprisingly I have seen nothing of the Bus Eireann city fleet, despite the fact that I have to cross the city from Ennis Road to Raheen every morning – the particular route I taken has no local service, even though the N69 out of the city passes through many industrial areas.

So, bored in the hotel this evening, I decided to take a spin out the Ennis Road in the Shannon direction, to see what I could see.

An Ayats / DAF touring coach at Twomilebridge, parked in a roadside hotel.

Shannon Airport was empty at just after 7pm, and the sun was in any case very badly positioned for the main bus stops, so I didn’t wait around. I did however manage to snap this car=park shuttle bus, operated by a local independent under contract to the Airport Authority.

Another Solo – these are becoming quite popular in Ireland these days!

On my way back in, I called in to Bunratty, where the Castle & Folk Park are a big draw for coach parties.

In the car-park, a UK-based Setra on Globus tours sits beside Bus Eireann’s new SP119 which is in CIE Tours livery.

Rear/Side view of SP119, showing the new livery on this years CIE Tours deliveries.

Also at Bunratty was this Vanhool T915, operated by Cronins of Cork.

LUAS update (Cherrywood extension)

An update on the LUAS Green Line extension to Cherrywood in South County Dublin.

You can click on any photo to see the fullsize version.

Above is the new bridgework just put in place on the Brewery Road roundabout at Sandyford.

While we’re at it, let’s have a look at Brewery Road as it is now, compared to 28 years ago.

The upper of the two photos above shows the view at the top end of Brewery Road, looking towards the roundabout. Below is the exact same view taken in 1980 – note that despite the dramatic changes, the trees on the lefthand side have survived.

The lower photo shows how rural Brewery Road was in the early 1980s. The bus is a CIE bodied Leyland Atlantean “standard D”  (D396) of the type typical to the 86 route at the time (although this individual vehicle would more normally have been found on the 48A).

In those days the 86 still ran all day at a roughly half-hourly frequency, from Cabinteely to College Street.

The photo was not taken in the summer months – buses carrying the Mother’s Pride advert always had it replaced by an advert for Nimble “for summer slimness” in mid May, with Mother’s Pride returning in September.

Back to today, the above picture shows the extensive works on Ballyogan Road, the LUAS will run on the righthand side of the picture, while the greatly improved road will be on the left.

Glenamuck Road, seen from the bottom of the hill (i.e. the M50 is behind us) looking up towards the railway bridge. This road remains closed while the new bridge for LUAS is put in place, and the road itself is being totally transformed from narrow and twisty with no verge or footpath, to a much wider road with paths and cycle lanes.

Officially, Glenamuck Road is supposed to reopen to traffic on May 1st 2008, but I am not wholly convinced that the work can be finished in time. Here we see the new LUAS bridge which the road will run over.

Above the bridge, looking towards Carrickmines Cross, we can get an idea what the new road will look like when finished.

At Cherrywood, the major road crossing has now been put in place.

The end of the line, at Cherrywood Business Park, will see the elevated station named as Bride’s Glen.

Finglas Forays over the years

With Finglas bus services in the news, the need to get some up to date shots prompted me to look back through my collection to remember previous visits.Below are a selection of pictures and commentary from last Sunday, as well as my forays to Finglas 5, 8 and 26 years ago.

2008

20080323-rv550.jpg

Whatever happens in the Irish bus world usually makes it into Coach & Bus Week (CBW) magazine the following Wednesday, and more often than not I have to get a photo to accompany the copy.

Given recent events in Finglas, including car hijackings on Patricks Day and occasional stoning of buses (the subject of the article) I was a little nervours about this assignment, especially given the circumstances of my last attempt to photograph in the location 5 years ago (see further below). So I took the car instead of the bus, and confined myself to failry mainstream locations, not too far off the beaten track.

Stopping first at Glasnevin Cemetary, after a few middling shots of buses heading to Finglas which were not displaying the destination, I got the picture above which would eventually accompany the article – ironically the only bus with “Finglas” mentioned on the display was actually heading inwards!

The bus is Volvo Olympian / Alexander RV550, new to Donnybrook Garage in 1999, and swapped over to Harristown in December 2005 as part of a cascade when the first triaxles arrived. It is on the 40A, and is picking up outside the main cemetary gates.

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I wanted to get more shots closer to the Finglas area, and this one of RV537 was my first attempt. I was surprised to see it still on the 40s, as I expected it to have transferred to Ringsend by the weekend (part of another cascade – new triaxles into Phibsboro releasing older lowfloor buses to Harristown, pushing 9 year old RVs to Ringsend to replace 12 year old RAs).

Even in the short time that I stood on Tolka Valley Road to get this shot, I was subject to taunting from local youths and passing motorists, so I decided to quit while I was ahead and leave the area.

2003

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 The source of my unease was an event five years earlier, when I had decided to take the newly extended/merged 83 to Finglas in the middle of the day on a Saturday, to get some shots around Finglas Village.

I had just stepped off the bus in the picture above, and photographed it to start my visit, when a group of local teenagers took exception to me, and started shouting insults and approaching in a threatening group. Within a minute of this picture I was having bottles and can thrown at me, in broad daylight close to the centre of the village.

This was something I had never encountered when photographing in any other area of Dublin.

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Discretion being the better part of valour, I legged it the short distance to the main road, where AV141 was just approaching as an inbound 40, and grabbed a quick shot before boarding and heading back into town.

2000

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In July 2000, when the above photo was taken, the Finglas QBC had just been launched (or relaunched).

The 40 was mainly P operated at the time, as these buses – Plaxton Verde bodied DAF SB220s – had been replaced on the 39 by higher capacity double-deckers.

This shot of P26 was taken on a quiet morning near Glasnevin – no trouble that day.

I liked the Ps, and was sad that they were withdrawn before their time, as single-decks went out of fashion in Dublin. They are a graceful looking bus, and can still be found at work as schoolbuses with Bus Eireann, mainly in the west.

1982

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My favourite Finglas photo, even if it is badly clipped at one side. The time is late summer 1982, and Leyland Atlantean PDR1 D1 is in its last weeks of service, one of just a handful of single-door examples hanging on in service at the time.

D1 is a much photographed vehicle, and there are endless publicity shots of it gleaming new in 1966, but this is how it looked at the other end of its life, battered and torn after 16 years of service.One headlight missing, a hole in the roof dome, badly patched metal around the lower destination display, and mismatching window surrounds – one rubber in the style of the D400s, and one original. Some of the early Ds did get the rubber window aurrounds after serious accidents, but usually both were done, and D1 looked very odd with half a repair job.

The Transport Museum did think about obtaining D1 on withdrawal, but in the end went for the much more solid D44 instead.

I do recall that I travelled back into town on D1 that day, and that this was the very last time I saw it on the road – it was confirmed withdrawn just a few weeks later.

Lean On Me

Leaning

A bus for those who lean to the left

It’s a long time since I’ve seen a leaning bus at Donnybrook, so the sight of Volvo Olympian RV495 (see picture above – click for fullsize version) brought me back many years, to the days when I used to visit the depot as a teenage schoolboy on my bike.

There were a lot of leaners in those days, especially among the dwindling number of halfcab open platform buses (Leyland PD3s with CIE bodywork) which used to lean to the nearside due to the effects of constant weight of people on the platform, or the other wayif they had an extra sping fitted to counter the nearside lean.

Occasional Atlantean leanings would also be seen, but it was the arrival of the Bombardiers with their air-suspension which took it to an art form. They could lean left or right, or occasionally even backwards or forwards.

The picture above was taken this January 2008, and shows RV495 with a pronounced heel, and the RV to our left of it doesn’t look too straight either!

Below is a shot from the late 1970s, showing a less pronounced leaner, D271, normally a regular on my home 14/14A routes, but obviously having recently put in a stint on the lengthy 84.

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The picture shows just how poor the tan livery looked on the Atlanteans once it had faded – compare D271 to the RA on the right, which was not only 8 years older, but whose last respray had been at least two years prior to the Ds one.

Happy days those, when all I had to worry about was the end of the summer holidays, and the prospect of looking at photos of buses on a computer was pure science fiction!